DOMUNI UNIVERSITAS

Plato - A Way of Life

Plato - A Way of Life

Plato ranks as one of the most important thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition. This module introduces the student to some of the fundamental ideas that inform his works as well as guiding the student through some developments in his presentation of these ideas.

ECTS Credits: 3
Professor: Br Kevin O'Reilly OP

Plato ranks as one of the most important thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition. This module introduces the student to some of the fundamental ideas that inform his works as well as guiding the student through some developments in his presentation of these ideas.

This module deals with one of the most important thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition. One twentieth-century philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, went so far as to say that Western philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato. Whatever one makes of that comment, it remains true that no introduction to philosophy could ever be complete without a solid acquaintance with this ancient master. With this end in view this module seeks to familiarize the student with various fundamental aspects of Plato’s works.


It is not possible, of course, to provide an exhaustive treatment of Plato’s thought in an introductory module of about fifty pages. The module has however been devised in such a way as to offer a summary view of his work that faithfully reflects his thought as a whole. It begins with a commentary on the moral dynamics encountered in his early dialogue, the Apology. There the voice of Socrates speaks more for himself rather than being a mere mouthpiece for Plato. In later dialogues Socrates becomes more the mouthpiece of Plato. Subsequent chapters offer summaries of Plato’s philosophical psychology and his theory of Forms/Ideas. In the course of these chapters the important doctrine of recollection also appears. In brief, the student is introduced to Plato’s ethics, anthropology, metaphysics and epistemology.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER ONE     THE APOLOGY: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE DYNAMICS OF THE MORAL LIFE

Ethical naturalism
Socrates’ activity: a response to a divine call
Socrates and the social context of the moral life
Critical thinking and virtue
Conclusion

CHAPTER TWO : PLATO’S PSYCHOLOGY

The Phaedo: the soul as something simple
The Republic: the soul as possessing a tripartite structure
Conclusion

CHAPTER THREE :  PLATO’S THEORY OF FORMS/IDEAS

Introduction
The doctrine of the Forms in the Phaedo
Purification and recollection
Equality itself: an argument for the Forms
The doctrine of the Forms in the Republic
The simile of the sun
The simile of the divided line
The simile of the cave
Some criticisms of the Forms
Conclusion
 

CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPHY